The Card Designer Spotlight is a series featuring independent makers whose greeting cards you can find in Paper Source stores. Meet and be inspired by a new designer every month on our blog!
Alicia Heater is the proud owner and designer of Slightly Stationery. Her natural skills and illustrations bring us a sassy collection of cards and designs inspired by special, meaningful moments as well as her busy schedule. Founded out of Portland Oregon by husband & wife in 2014, they are now celebrating a growing business and team in sunny Oceanside, California.
How did you begin your card-making career?
I was doing a lot of freelance design work while I was working full-time, and it was a really wide range of projects. Eventually, I got tired of spending countless hours on a project and making barely anything on it (my own fault for not charging what I should have) and decided to explore the world of designing something that could exist for a lot longer than these one-time projects. I launched myself headfirst into designing cards without knowing a thing (my first collection did not have even one birthday card.) It was not an instant success, but I never looked back!
Where do you draw inspiration from? Food? Pop Culture? Timeless Motifs? Playful Puns?
It’s an endless list! For better or worse, somewhere in the back of my mind is always open to inspiration. Puns, food, things that make people smile or chuckle, and the beauty of nature are always on the list. Sometimes inspiration comes from a chapter of life that I’m going through and being more aware of what a good message for that season may be. For instance, shortly after my son was born, I designed a whole lot of new baby/new parent cards that spoke well to that life-changing event. Whatever the occasion or inspiration, it’s a delight to see how these cards resonate with others once they’ve come to fruition.
What does your day look like as a card maker and designer?
Oftentimes it seems like my designer role comes last, after all the various hats of being a business owner and the never-ending list of need-to-dos and should-dos and could-dos. I’m not complaining though, since I truly love being a business owner (most of the time!) More often than not, my days are spent doing things that aren’t design work, unless I’m super intentional about carving out time to do it. Sometimes it looks like putting on a movie or show in the evening and working on our new designs and illustrations while I watch (listen) to it.
What is your preferred medium?
These days, I do most of my work on my iPad. I used to paint everything with gouache, then scan it, clean it up and make any adjustments on the computer. Sometimes I miss doing it that way and maybe will again someday – but in this chapter, my iPad has been a fantastic tool.
What does your creative process look like?
Most of the time, an idea will sit in my idea bank for a while before it’s time for it. That timing is based on our release schedule, which we try to be pretty organized and strategic about. When it’s time to bring it to life (if I still like the idea), I’ll make a really rough, preliminary sketch and then work on the color palette for the particular piece. Then that sketch gets fleshed out in color, and then it’s time to add shading and subtle details – which is the longest part, but a lot of times it’s the most fun, because it’s where you see it really take shape. Then we work on the lettering (and sometimes the phrasing gets edited in the process) and lastly, get it ready to put it into a template for its given product, like a card.
What are you most proud of as a creator and card maker?
In broad strokes, I’m proud of how much I’ve learned and grown. Though I’d done a good bit of graphic design, I had zero illustration experience when I decided it was a good idea to try to make and sell illustrated cards for a living. There have been a lot of hours put in and a lot of revisions made as I figured things out that may come more naturally to others than to me but I’m proud to have stuck with it and seen big improvements.
Any personal tidbits? Special talents/fun facts?
Someday I’d love to do an illustrated recipe book on sauces, since I really love sauce, and I like to think that I’m a pretty good sauce-maker, too. I bother? astound? my husband and friends at restaurants noting what kind of flavor profile a dish may need and then dreaming up what I’d put in a sauce to take it to the next level. So, an illustrated sauce book and flowchart may really combine my strengths!
Find Slightly Stationery Cards such as Lost Count Birthday Card, Thrilling Halloween Card, and Jingle All the Way Christmas Card at your local store or online at papersource.com. For more inspiration and behind-the-scenes action, follow @SlightlyStationery on IG.